For those of you who don't know, Samuel is my nephew (soon-to-be son), and the eldest son of my older sister Heather. He has six younger siblings, three of which are with their paternal grandparents, Merie and Dale. Their daughter Tanya was a good friend growing up and has since moved to San Antonio for her husband's job. I know, small world.

Well, Dale and Merie came to visit Tanya and her family over Christmas and they brought Samuel's brother and sisters along with cousins and aunts and uncles. It was so great to have them all in town. There is no way we would be able to fly up to Alaska to visit them right now, so to be able to spend time with them was so great. Samuel has made the transition from Montana to Texas very well, but he loved being around people who are familiar to him.

Here is Samuel on the right and Andrew on the left. They got to stay for a whole month! Andrew came to spend the night first and they had so much fun! They stuffed their jackets with pillows and blankets and just ran into each other for awhile. Talk about self-entertained! :)

Here's a video of them actually doing it in the front yard. Hilarious.

The next time, the girls came too and they helped me make a ton of sugar cookies for the Christmas plates I did. Here is Isabel picking out cookie cutters. She was so much fun to have around! What a wonderful girl, so athletic and fun!

And this is Zoe licking off a mixer. She's so maticulous and precices. She was so good at frosting the cookies. I couldn't have done it without their help!

Here is most of the finished product to go out to friends.

The next time they came over they spent the night and that was alot of fun. We all went to the movies and had a great time. Here is Isabel sharing her Ninetendo DX with Samuel, what a good sister. :)

Andrew is such a strong and fast guy. He climbed the tree in the front yard and decided to jump down on his own instead of getting help from me. Samuel said that Andrew has grown up so much, he's really fast in football and read scriptures so well when he spent the night.

Isabel and her desert!

All of them together! They are all so cute!! Thanks for coming guys!!

Here are all of them together on Samuel's bike...all four of them. So cool.


Ward PAR-TAY!!

We took the family to the ward Christmas party this year even though we were out way past Ethan's nie-nie time. We sat and ate good food then let Cheekers go run-a-muk.

And the first thing he went for were the cords to the mics....that's my son.

And here's Destiny to the rescue! I babysit this cute little girl and her older sister every day after school.

And here comes the nativity.

Samuel ended up being a Shepard! Here he is climbing on the stage.

He did such a great job!

I didn't get a picture, but there were the cutest little lambs too!

Ethan was all over the place, gotta love the church gym.

Silly Ethan

These were taken a few days before Christmas.

Diaper head

Hazy eyes

On the prowl

This ornament looks like the "sparkly" from the Secret of Nimh.

We call him cheekers

Squishy face

I'm ready for my close up!

Ethan likes to share

My Hunny

My hunny is amazing.

Is your hunny like my hunny?

If so,

we are pretty lucky.

(I luv you hunny)

Clarinet? check....Tux? check.....

Samuel had his Christmas concert in December and got to wear his tux. He looked so sharp! He practices every morning for 45 minutes before school and it's paying off! His teacher really likes him.

The other clarinet players say he's the best in the group.

Standing up for the applause.

Making funny faces at Eric after the concert.

We couldn't miss pictures in front of the Christmas tree!

Happy Belated Holidays....or something

Wow it's been so long since I blogged and I'm in the same boat as some of you, putting up Christmas pictures waaaayyy too late, but it's better than not.

Right now Ethan is sitting on the floor obsessed with a pair of pants. He flings them, plays peek-a-boo, bites them, tosses them....the pants have all of his attention and he's happy. It's so fun to watch his curiosity.

Here are some pictures Christmas preparations, I know I know, it's worse than putting up pictures of Christmas day, but atleast the Grandma's will like em! :)

Samuel prepared and taught his first lesson for deacon's quorum at church. He prepared well and rehearsed it in front of us and it sounded great.

We have some great friends in the ward who love real trees for Christmas, but this year their 18 month old did a Superman for the middle of the tree and "Took er down!!", so Shauna told her husband he had to get rid of it, much to his chagrin. He loves Douglas Firs! But they brought it over and cut it down to size for our little living room. Here Shaun is with the chain saw in our driveway.

It was the most gorgeous tree I've ever had. So full and glorious! It took up a fourth of our living room and smelled so good!

We spent FHE trimming it with all of the new decorations I got from Hobby Lobby. So exciting!

I love the glow of Christmas lights!

You can see the homemade stockings hanging from our bookcase. Oh and yes, that is the t-shirt from girls camp when I was in high school. Crazy memories.

Here's Ethan helping out! Luckily Ethan didn't like the feel of the pokey needles so he didn't mess with the tree really. All of the ornaments we got were plastic so he could play with them all he wanted. It was great.

Samuel's friends Julio came over to help trim the tree. They were very helpful.

Ethan loved getting the ornaments out.

Here is my love. All of his 6 foot goodness came in handy as we got to the top.

But in the end I had to adjust a few things. Yes, our ceiling is that low.

Daniel braved the roof to put up the outside lights. I manually popped the non-working Jimmy into neutral and we pushed it into place under the edge of the roof. I made Daniel wear his bike helmet as a safety precaution.

Our house isn't that big and we had just enough lights!

We got up the icicle lights...

And the color lights...

And I loved it!

Samuel and I wrapped presents for Daniel one night.

I loved putting everyone to bed and seeing the glow of the Christmas lights as I locked down the house at night. We used a timer so we didn't have to worry about shutting them on and off.

And here's the final product!!